Ride From Cheyenne to Great Salt Lake City—Condition of the Rail-road—Religious Toleration in Utah.
[CORRESPONDENCE OF THE WORLD.]
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, June 28.
At Cheyenne we catch the first view of the Rocky Mountains, stretching away southward, and west of Denver. Their summits of perpetual snow gleamed in the morning sunlight, giving to the scene much the effect of the Bernese Alps, viewed from north-ern Switzerland. Five hundred miles of a barren, sandy desert has been left behind in the Platte Val-ley; and at the ambitious city of Cheyenne, said to have been built in six days—and which it would im-prove to carefully rebuild in twenty-four hours—at an elevation of 6,062 feet above the sea, our track lay across the "Black Hills" to Sherman Station, at the “Summit," 8,262 feet elevation. Through this cut of some forty miles, often at an up-grade of ninety feet per mile, was performed some of the heaviest rock excavation done upon the road, and this is one of the points where snow-drifts so greatly interupted the trains last winter. Across the next four hundred miles, to Echo Canyon, noth-ing greets the eye but, desolation! Not a tree, or a shrub, save the stunted "sage-bush;" herbless rocks and barren sands; high up on this broken, billowy sea of granite, which the elements seem to have crumbled to make a track for the Pacific Rail-road—onward speeds onr train. Not even an Indian did we see till we found a friendly lodge of about five hundred encamped on Bear River.
At "Fort Steele" we saw a small garrison of United States troops; they reported the Indians all quiet in that region. Leaving the fort we reach Rawlings Station, 709 miles west from Omaha. At this point the last fork of the Platte River is crossed, and the last waters which flow eastward Into the At-lantic. The ladies of the train assembled on the platforms and cast flowers upon the stream as we crossed the bridge. A few cottonwood and willows fringe the borders of the river, but we soon lose sight of every vestige of shrub or tree, to again encounter rock and sand and storms. Nearly every mountain storm is this region is accompanied by hail, which falls harmless, as there is absolutely nothing to destroy. There are no birds or game, and as for scenery, a man might as well be blind until he reach “Wah-satch," where we came into full view of the moun-tain range bearing that name—the range which skirts the Eastern rim of the great Salt Lake basin.
Wahsatch is 968 miles from Omaha. Half of the town is built of pine boards, and the remainder of sheeting nailed upon side frame-work, with a good preposition of "ranches" underground, with mud roofs. Now, for the first time upon this long line of nearly a thousand miles from the Missouri River, the scenery assumes bold, rocky, and picturesque fea-tures; and we see the first fruits of "irrigation" in redeeming these sterile valleys. We soon leave the reddish sandstone which the rains and winds have carved into pulpit rocks, witches rocks, and num-berless fantastic forms, and dash down to “Echo City," a dozen cloth shanties upon a barren, sandy plain, to enter “The Narrows," a deep defile cut through the Wahsatch Mountains by the Weber River. At this point the scenery becomes wild, picturesque, and sublime; perpendicular walls of granite, broken with contortions which amaze you, rise 2,000 feet at irregular intervals, while the impetuous Weber goes thundering over its rocky bed hundreds of feet below. In places the road hangs upon the mountain side like a thread, with scarcely width for our roomy and spacious Pullman cars. Three tunnels are passed in quick succession, and rounding a curve where the Weber makes a detour through the "Devil's Gate," we come upon a stately pine, to whose lower branches is appended a sign-board bearing the inscription "1,000 Mile Tree." At this point the scenery has reached a sublimity without parallel. The Weber has become a “roaring river," the mountains touch the clouds, and come down to the rocky bed of this furious stream. The "Devil's Slide," two parallel rows of granite strata protruding from the mountain's side like the fins of a fish, reach from the base to sum-mit, at an angle of 70 degrees. As suddenly as we burst upon this view, at our entrance, we leave it, and before us lies the station of Uintah, upon the eastern verge of the great Salt Lake valley.
Permit me to say a word about the character of the Union Pacific Railroad. For 700 miles west from Omaha, the track and bed are as good as any Eastern road, as smooth and well ballasted. There are about 150 miles lying west of Rawlings, where the track was laid in the winter, which is rough and uneven; the company have hundreds of men em-ployed in improving it. It is upon this piece of road where the snow blockade of last winter occurred. West of Laramie, the accommodations for "feeding the trains" are abominable. You can get nothing fit to eat, and have to pay extortionately. The whole idea of dining people with these Western Bon-nifaces seems to culminate in selling lager and bologna, under a cotton tent. The company are taking steps to remedy this hungry want. We made the trip from Chicago to Uintah, 1,500 miles, in three days and five hours.
Three of Wells, Fargo & Co.'s stages took us up at Uintah, and with three relays (of six horses) made the drive to Salt Lake City—thirty-four miles—in three hours and thirty minutes. Opposition has brought the fare for this trip down to one dollar. Skirting the eastern line of the Salt Lake, under the Wahsatch Mountains, we drove into Brigham Young's capital at 8 P.M.. to find its hotels full—en-gaged by telegraph. General Sherman and party were here, being serenaded and lionized by the au-thorities. The arrival of Perry H. Smith and Hon. William B. Ogden's party was duly honored by flags displayed from all the public buildings of the city, and escort to them, including the Tabernacle. The city, with its 15,000 inhabi-tants, embowered amid shade and fruit trees, with wide streets washed by pure mountain water, is cal-culated to impress the visitor favorably. Order and quiet reign supreme; industry seems universal, and outwardly the Mormon capital is a success. Even religious toleration has been granted. Dr. Ford, of Massachusetts, a Congregationalist, preached in the Tabernacle last Sabbath week, and the Rev. Mr. Backus, of New York, a Baptist, preached yesterday. Brigham Young and many of his apostles and bishops were present, and not less than 7,000 persons in the congregation. A Mormon apostle, A. M. Taylor, discoursed at length upon the Mormon faith; but this is no place to give even an epitome of his belief, though he as-serted the Divine origin of the Book of Mormon, which was written by an erratic clergyman at Pal-myra. N. Y., and dug up in a hill near that village and printed in a Palmyra printing office—there being a thousand living witnesses of the above facts. Of Mormonism I may write in another letter, as it has developed this sterile valley, where nothing grows except by process of irrigation. Our visitor ex-cursionists have seen the outside; the ease tinted side of life; possibly over the threshold there may be another side. MAC.
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